Louis Riposta, the owner of the newly opened Smoke Rings 72 in Merritt Island, Florida had a dream that started with the acquisition of small cigar shop in the Merritt Island Shopping mall a number of years ago. The shop was quaint but it did not complete the dream. Louis took the time to search for a better location and planned to complete his dream of owing one of the best cigar lounges. With a bottoms up building renovation, throughout the 2020 pandemic, he finally made his dream come true in late 2020 with the gran re-opening of the new and expanded Smoke Rings 72 Cigar Shop and Lounge.
The new lounge is just 2 miles from the original location and is actually easier to get to, along with ample parking in front of the shop. This is key, as the mall location, on a busy day, would have you parking further away form the entrance, and unless you knew about the old shop you may not have ventured in. Now with a prime location and plenty of car traffic passing by, more cigar smokers will take notice. Located in a small strip mall, right on N. Courtney Parkway, access to the lounge is simple.
Here is a short interview with Louis who will explain in his own words:
As you enter the lounge you will find yourself in the shop area staring straight back at the huge walk-in humidor. Let’s take a visit to the humidor which is impeccably clean, and has that sweet aroma of tobacco and Spanish cedar filling your nostrils. There are 100’s of facings of cigars resting on the shelves from classic boutique lines to the most popular big brands and everything in between. You should have no problem filling your needs and pleasing your palate with the selection at Smoke Rings 72. Louis has been in the business for quite some time and understands the variety of palates that need to be pleased.
Flavored cigars are kept outside the humidor in their own cabinet so as not to affect those in the humidor. Tins are also showcased outside the humidor.
Once you have made your selection you can head over to the front counter to make your purchase. If you are a first time customer, they will register you in the purchasing system with a unique number that you use every time you visit. As a full service tobacco shop, the front counter is stocked with selections of pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, vape juice, a small cigarette selection, along with needed items like lighter gas and boveda packs.
The Coffee and Snack Bar
A unique area in Smoke Rings 72, is the coffee and snack bar, located just outside of the lounge area. Here you can get a properly made cup of your favorite styles of coffee. They have a legit espresso machine and the staff are skilled at operating it. Not only is there coffee, they also have snacks, chips, candy bars, biscotti’s and gum. Heck, they even make shakes. This is coffee shop that allows cigar smoking, gee a novel concept.
Throughout the front of the shop, there are various showcases that contain the many additional accessories or gifts you may need as a cigar or pipe enthusiast. There is a full collection of Zippo lighters, Pipes and pipe tools, Berger Aroma Lampes and refills, Xikar torch lighters and cutters, humidors and ashtrays. If you need it, they pretty much have it at Smoke Rings 72. The layout of the shop area is much akin to a high end department store with its numerous show cases, decor, and polished tile flooring.
Now step into the lounge. The whole experience transforms in the lounge room. The shop was just a teaser to the lounge and bar area. Louis did an awesome job in this part of the establishment. It all starts with walking through a large red brick archway that takes you into an expansive area of leather seating, high ceilings, and chandeliers. It reminds me of a drawing room in a mansion, you instantly feel on top of the world when you enter. You can’t help but fixate your eyes on the pool table in the center of the lounge. This is no quarter play table you find in some local dive bar. It is a large table with leather pockets and a red felt top. There is no cost to play pool and on a busy night, there might be some patrons involved in a pickup tournament, but you are always welcome to challenge the winner(s).
The bar is expansive with a black lacquer top and mood lighting underneath. Numerous wooden stools surround the bar. Smoke Rings 72 has an extensive collection of bottle and draft beers, more than I can get into in this article, but trust me, if you like craft brew they will wet your whistle. The bar is also stocked with fine wines and champagne. Sorry folks, there is no liquor here, that requires a different license in the state of Florida. Lisa, the bar manager who was there the day I took the photos, is very knowledgeable about craft beer, so don’t be shy to ask her for a suggestion. If you are shy, there is a big screen TV above the bar that scrolls through the expansive selections.
The lounge has ample seating throughout, along with some hi-top tables. There are plenty of ash trays, so you never have to accidently ash on the floor (please don’t do that). Also, please don’t shoot pool with a cigar in your mouth. Rest rooms are located in the lounge area, and there is a men’s and women’s room. I found the men’s room to be spotlessly clean. Kudos to the staff for maintaining the cleanliness.
If you want to up your game a bit, Smoke Rings 72 offers a 24/7 access, private lounge area on the other side of the shop, just in case you did not think there was enough space already. The lounge is for use by members and their guests and if you live or visit frequently in the area, you can ask the staff about membership. Just off to the right of the entrance, there is both an inside entrance to this area during business hours, and an outside entrance during the non-business hours. It is adorned with wood paneling, forest green walls, wrap around windows and comfortable leather seating. There is a small mini fridge for your use, private toilet, and individual cigar lockers. There is also two flat screen TVs.
Contact and Hours of Operation
- Location: Smoke Rings 72 at 925 N Courtenay Pkwy, Merritt Island, FL 32953
- Phone: : (321) 453-1422
- Website: http://www.smokerings72.com/
- Email: [email protected]
- Facebook: SmokeRingsFL
- Instagram: smokerings72
Smoke Rings 72 is open 7 days a week with following hours:
Smoke Rings 72 in Merritt Island, FL is a top notch stop for any cigar enthusiast. The staff and management were friendly, knowledgeable, and welcoming, as were all the patrons I had the opportunity to converse with. Free WiFi, excellent coffee, and ample seating makes it a comfortable place to get some work done and enjoy a fine cigar. I have been a here a few times since they opened and it is one of my go-to lounges in central Florida.
Louis, I think your dream is being fulfilled, best of luck and I will see you again.